Monday, December 27, 2010

SCAD and Kids II® Partner to Create Innovative Design Solutions and Unique Learning Opportunities for Students

/PRNewswire/ -- Savannah College of Art and Design, the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, and Kids II, one of the world's fastest-growing baby product companies with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., and offices on five continents, have formed a mutually beneficial partnership that provides fresh new product ideas for Kids II while giving SCAD students real-world, hands-on corporate design experience, better preparing them for post-college career opportunities.

"SCAD's mission is to prepare talented students for professional careers, and providing collaborative learning experiences with companies, nonprofits and other organizations is one of the best ways that students gain the necessary skills to make them valuable contributors from day one with employers," explained SCAD Professor Jesus Rojas, a team leader behind the SCAD and Kids II partnership.

This year, nearly 20 SCAD students -- all industrial design majors -- spent six months under the direction of Rojas and Kids II Vice President of Product Development Steve Burns developing toy and gear concepts for the company. Design criteria stated that the designs must be simple and intuitive, easy to use, have flexible use, promote infant development, reflect the essence of the existing Bright Starts™ brand, and meet global safety standards.

Students conducted market research, created more than 200 initial design concepts, and honed their ideas through collaborative meetings with Kids II's senior design team. Kids II ultimately selected two final design concepts, which the company is considering for further development and which could ultimately appear on store shelves in more than 65 countries.

"We've found that the SCAD student's thinking is bold and innovative," said Burns. "The concepts they delivered this year demonstrate a strong understanding of the market and how to advance Kids II's position as a leading provider of smart, high-quality infant products. SCAD graduates are definitely among the most inventive designers we've encountered -- which explains why we've consistently hired interns from the university for the past five years and more than half of our product designers are SCAD graduates."

Recognizing that design and education today are truly global, the partners decided to expand their relationship by providing the top 12 student designers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: travel to Hong Kong to present their portfolios and design concepts to Kids II's Asian design team, including the Kika Design Studio. While in Hong Kong, the students also met with other leading design companies such as VTech, Rubbermaid, TTI and Philips, among others. Students networked, met international design teams, shared creative concepts through portfolio presentations, toured manufacturing facilities on Mainland China, and investigated job and internship opportunities on a truly international scale.

This unique learning opportunity helps explain why, over the past four years, an average of 8 out of 10 new SCAD alumni who responded to a survey were employed in their field or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Jean Kee, a SCAD Bachelor of Fine Arts student from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who participated in the collaborative learning partnership with Kids II, so impressed the company's design team with her concepts and professional demeanor that she barely had time to unpack from her trip to Hong Kong before she reported to the company's Atlanta office for the first day of her new internship.

"SCAD has helped me make my professional dreams a reality, and I'm truly grateful to both the university and Kids II for this amazing opportunity," said Kee. "From undertaking the Kids II sponsored project, to being able to go to Hong Kong, to being rewarded with an internship as well as the opportunity to have my design concept prototyped, I can proudly say that the experience as a whole has not only made me a more well-rounded designer, but also a stronger, more mature and much more knowledgeable individual."

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

USA Funds Accepts Applications for $1 Million in Scholarships

/PRNewswire/ -- USA Funds®, a nonprofit organization that helps American families benefit from postsecondary education, announces that it is accepting applications online for a total of $1 million in USA Funds Access to Education Scholarships® to help students from low- to moderate-income households pay college costs.

The program offers $1,500 scholarships to qualified full-time or half-time undergraduates and to full-time graduate and professional students. Applicants for the scholarships must be enrolled or plan to enroll in course work at accredited two- or four-year colleges, universities or vocational/technical schools beginning with the fall 2011 term through Feb. 1, 2012.

The program assists students from households with an annual income of $35,000 or less. Up to 50 percent of the awards go to students who are members of an ethnic minority group or are physically disabled.

"USA Funds has helped more than 16,000 low- to moderate-income students pursue higher education through the award of more than $55 million in scholarships during the past nine years," said Robert C. Ballard, USA Funds senior vice president, access and outreach. "We're pleased to continue this tradition of scholarship support to help deserving students overcome financial barriers to college."

The scholarship application deadline is Feb. 15, 2011.

For complete eligibility information and to apply online, students should visit www.usafunds.org/scholarship. A Spanish-language version of the scholarship information and online application is available.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Atlanta Christian College Holds First-Ever Winter Commencement

Atlanta Christian College awarded diplomas to its first-ever December graduates on Friday, with 58 students crossing the stage. A total of 144 students have received diplomas from Atlanta Christian this year – a new high for the 74-year-old college.

The commencement speaker was Dr. Crawford Loritts, nationally known speaker, author and radio host and senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Ga.

“Nothing in life happens apart from courage,” Loritts said to the graduates. “Often, the difference between success and failure comes down to courage.”

He encouraged the graduates to be courageous as they move into the next stages of their lives, reminding them, “Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the direction of fear. If you fear God more than you fear people, you’ll always come out courageous.”The December Hathcock Award winners were also announced during the ceremony. This award, named for Judge T. O. Hathcock, ACC’s founder, is the highest honor the College awards to a graduating senior. Seniors are nominated by the administrative cabinet and selected by the faculty. Not more than five percent of the graduating class may receive the award. It is given based on the qualities of academic achievement, character and servant leadership. This year’s recipients were Robin Joiner, of Snellville, Ga., and Kara Banister, of Stockbridge, Ga.
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High Schools Fall Short on College Support, Student Researchers Find

/PRNewswire/ -- Students do not get the college-going help they need from schools until far too late in the game, according to an extraordinary new report by a research team of 25 diverse high school students from Tennessee and Washington state.

Instead, parents and guardians largely step into the gap, according to their study, Hear Us Out, which was released today by the Center for Youth Voice in Policy and Practice at What Kids Can Do, Inc., a nonprofit based in Providence, RI.

Three-quarters of the respondents named their families as the chief source of college motivation and support, even when their parents and guardians had not attended college themselves.

In contrast, almost a third said they had never spoken with a school counselor about college. Although that percentage dropped to 12 percent by twelfth grade, 28 percent of seniors said they had completed their college application mostly on their own.

Student researchers based their findings on surveys of close to 5,000 peers in nine comprehensive high schools, five in Seattle and four in Chattanooga and Hamilton County, Tennessee. Another 225 students participated in videotaped student-led focus groups and individual interviews.

High motivation, little help

Conversations about setting their sights on college began early for 86 percent of students and came to a peak in sixth through ninth grades. But respondents said they lacked concrete advice from school sources in the critical early high school years.

Encountering a problem moving ahead with college plans, 86 percent of students said they would turn to a parent or guardian, compared to 38 percent who said they would consult a school counselor, and 33 percent a teacher.

The cost of college was the biggest hurdle, according to more than two-thirds of students. Forty percent said they knew little or nothing about financial aid. Of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, only 64 percent expected to attend college directly after high school, compared with 78 percent of higher-income students.

Aware of the constraints caused by overloaded counselors and shrinking school budgets, the student researchers urged community partners to step in with support and coaching for families and youth. They also asked for mentoring from "near peers" — college students from similar backgrounds who could share practical advice about access and success.

"I usually don't like asking for help," said one young respondent. "But when someone says, 'Hey, check this out, I don't know if you'll like it, but you should look at it anyway,' that goes pretty far."

Supported by Lumina Foundation for Education, Hear Us Out was a collaborative effort by What Kids Can Do (WKCD), the Public Education Foundation in Chattanooga, and the Alliance for Education in Seattle. The Public Science Project at CUNY Graduate Center helped design the survey and train the students. Students carried out their research and analysis in the spring of 2010.

"We found no shortage of ambition among these high school students, whatever their family income, race or ethnicity," said WKCD president Barbara Cervone, who presented the report along with videotaped student voices to a national group of college access organizations at Lumina's Indianapolis headquarters on December 2. "But making college dreams come true for America's youth is a joint production, requiring all of us."

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Clayton State School of Graduate Studies to Hold Hooding Ceremony, December 10

The Clayton State University School of Graduate Studies will hold its fall 2010 Hooding Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 9, in the ballroom of the University’s Student Activities Center, beginning at 5 p.m.

A total of 20 individuals will receive master’s degrees from Clayton State at the Hooding Ceremony, which will recognize summer 2010 and fall 2010 graduates from the School of Graduate Studies.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Distance Education Leader Ashworth College Selected by Military Advanced Education Magazine for Inclusion in Their Guide to Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities

/PRNewswire/ -- Military Advanced Education (MAE) has selected Ashworth College, a leader in online education, for inclusion in their 4th Annual Guide to Top Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities.

"This guide has become an invaluable tool for both Education Service Officers/Specialists and Base Transition Officers when advising their servicemembers about degree and certification opportunities currently available from institutions of higher learning," said MAE Associate Publisher Glenn R. Berlin.

From community colleges to nationally known centers of higher learning, MAE's Annual Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities provides potential students with uniform, pertinent information. Among the attributes considered in evaluating any school's degree of military friendliness are the quality of its academics, the on-campus and online advice and support it provides to servicemembers, veterans and their families, and the sophistication and effectiveness of its distance learning programs.

"Being recognized by Military Advanced Education as a top institution serving the military is an honorable distinction for Ashworth College," said Gary M. Keisling, Ashworth Chairman and CEO. "Ashworth is proud to offer a wide range programs to those serving in the U.S. military, their spouses and families and the veteran community."

"It's Ashworth's mission to ensure that our programs are of the highest quality, accredited, affordable and flexible," Keisling added. "Our degree programs are under $100 per credit hour, compared to similar schools that push theirs as high as $250 per credit hour. It's clear that with Ashworth College military tuition benefits go further towards helping individuals achieve their education goals."

He also pointed out that Ashworth does not charge for textbooks, which, according to The College Board currently averages an incremental $1,137 per year.

In addition to providing more than 115 career-focused diploma, degree, and certificate programs, Ashworth College is a member of Servicemember Opportunity Colleges Consortium (SOC). Ashworth also accepts ACE credits and is approved for a range of other military benefits to include GI/VA education benefits, DANTES, GoArmyEd, and MyCAA.

Military Advanced Education is the only magazine produced specifically for servicemembers and veterans seeking to take advantage of the military education benefit. MAE covers issues and trends in distance learning and education as they specifically relate to military life, including innovative programs, military educational policy, financial aid and coursework that offer special opportunities for military personnel.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Valdosta's Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Named Technical College of the Year

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in Valdosta was named Technical College of the Year at the December 2 meeting of the State Board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The Board also announced that it will honor Governor Sonny Perdue’s leadership and strong commitment to the success of Georgia’s 26 technical colleges with the new award in his name.

“Our technical colleges in Georgia are critical components of our overall economic development strategy,” Governor Perdue said. “I am proud to congratulate Wiregrass Georgia Technical College on this honor. Georgia’s technical colleges are emerging from this downturn stronger and ready to meet the advanced, high-tech workforce demands of today’s global economy.”

The Governor Sonny Perdue Award for the Technical College of the Year will be presented annually to the top college in TCSG.  Judging for the award is based on almost two dozen performance criteria, including enrollment numbers, graduation rate, student retention, job placement rate, cost efficiency, completions in adult education programs, and trends in specialized workforce training.

“Governor Perdue has long been a champion for Georgia’s economic development and he understands the vital role that the TCSG colleges have in producing a highly-skilled, 21st Century workforce that attracts companies to our state and enables Georgia businesses and industries to thrive in the face of global competition,” said Dean Alford, the chairman of the State Board of the TCSG..

“With Governor Perdue as our state’s chief executive, our technical colleges have grown to be recognized as a premier destination for some of the very best technical education and workforce development programs in the nation,” said Alford.  “Now, it’s only fitting that we establish a technical college of the year award that bears his name and honors not just his long legacy of commitment and support for the TCSG, but also the outstanding leadership that he has provided for the people of Georgia.”

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is the first recipient of the honor.

Dr. Ray Perren, the president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, accepted the award on behalf of his faculty, staff and students.  The other Perdue Award finalists were Albany Technical College, Atlanta Technical College and Altamaha Technical College in Jesup.

It has been an exceptional year for Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, which formed after the merger of Valdosta Technical College and East Central Technical College in July.  Enrollment at the college surged by 34 percent in 2010 to 6,198 students, and the number of those students attending as a full-time equivalent increased by 48 percent.  By the end of the year, the college graduated 756 students in certificate, diploma and degree programs, which was a 16 percent increase over the previous year.

The number of adult learners that enrolled in the college’s adult education programs, including Adult Basic Education and Adult Secondary Education, grew by 14 percent.  The college also focused on encouraging its GED graduates to transition on to technical college, with an 11 percent increase in that area.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College also improved on its operational efficiencies in a time of fiscal belt-tightening by reducing its average expenditure per full-time equivalent by almost 21 percent.  The college, like many of its sister colleges in the TCSG, sought those efficiencies by lowering administrative costs and not by reducing students access to instructional programs, classrooms and technology.

The exceptional performance and focus on education programs that has been demonstrated by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College reflects broader growth and progress throughout the TCSG in recent years.  In fact, during Governor Perdue’s two terms in office, enrollment in the Technical College System of Georgia grew by 42%, adding more than 57,000 students to a total that reached 191,000 last year.  The record-breaking enrollment necessitated more student access to state-of-the-art facilities, classrooms and labs, and Governor Perdue responded over the years by approving the appropriation of 42 capital projects for the colleges and numerous other campus renovations and improvements that combined are worth more than $700 million dollars.

Governor Perdue also approved a change in the system’s name from the old Department of Technical and Adult Education to the more modern and descriptive Technical College System of Georgia.  He also supported the decision in 2009 to save taxpayers millions and make the TCSG more efficient by merging 13 of its colleges into six.  The mergers saved more than $6 million annually by eliminating excessive administrative costs while resulting in larger, financially stronger colleges that offer improved student access to programs and technology.


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Friday, December 3, 2010

Communities In Schools of Laurens County Achieves National Accreditation

/PRNewswire/ -- Communities In Schools of Laurens County, a youth serving organization that provides school-based and after-school programs for students and the families served, has achieved National Accreditation by demonstrating compliance with all Communities In Schools Total Quality System (TQS) standards.

The TQS standards define expectations for effective non-profit business practices and for implementing the Communities In Schools model of integrated student support services at school sites. The site standards are based on a five-year, longitudinal national evaluation conducted by an independent, outside evaluator that documented the impact of the Communities In Schools model. The evaluation revealed that schools implementing the Communities In Schools model with high fidelity had higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates, and performed better than comparison schools in increasing the percentage of students meeting or exceeding math and reading proficiency in 4th and 8th grades, a crucial predictor of high school graduation.

Key initiatives in CIS of Laurens County include the Certified Literate Community Program, Reading Is Fundamental, AmeriCorps Reading Tutorial Program, Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA), The Loft Teen Center, Youth Excelling and Succeeding Program, and a CIS Performance Learning Center (PLC) that provides another learning option for high school students who are not succeeding the traditional school setting.

Communities In Schools developed the Total Quality System to establish clear operational guidelines that ensure uniform quality and improved outcomes for all students being served by Communities In Schools affiliates. The TQS system is part of an organization-wide commitment to evidence-based practice and the highest standards of accountability.

"We are proud to have achieved our accreditation as it underlies the value of complying with the high set of standards put in place by Communities In Schools National," said Jackie Curtis, CIS Executive Director of Laurens County.

Communities In Schools of Laurens County is among the first to receive its national accreditation among the nearly 200 local affiliates that comprise the Communities In Schools network in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS partners with local school districts and community organizations to connect needed resources and services to kids and families. In Georgia, 41 CIS local affiliates and 19 Performance Learning Centers® (PLCs) provide services to more than 130,000 students in 54 school districts. Key initiatives include mentoring, parent education, tutoring, literacy, after-school programs, youth leadership, and PLCs. Communities sponsoring CIS programs have seen an increase in their school graduation rates, a decrease in violence and disruptions, and an increase in attendance and academic achievement. For more information, visit www.cislc.org or call 478-274-0394.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cast Your Vote to Help Georgia's Tyrone Elementary Win $10,000 in National Competition

Connie Redd in the car line spreading the word about Progresso Soup joining the Box Tops for Education Program. 

“SOUPer” news for Tyrone Elementary; the school has been selected as one of 10 finalists nationwide in the Progresso Soup Box Tops for Education Contest.

The school entered the competition last month by submitting a photo and short description of how they would creatively spread the word about Progresso Soup joining the Box Tops for Education program. Parent Connie Redd, the school’s campaign leader, wore a “Box Tops for Education” label and carried an oversized Progresso Soup can while parading through the school’s car line. She says she made sure everyone in their cars knew that the soups now have the box tops and each are worth a dime.

Her campaign and the photo of Redd wearing the costume landed the school in the finals for the competition. Now, it is up to voters to select the grand prize winning school that will receive 100,000 box tops worth approximately $10,000. If Tyrone wins, the funds will be used to repair playground equipment, purchase technology programs and instructional supplies.

Here’s how you can help Tyrone Elementary get the most votes and win the $10,000 grand prize. Log on to www.boxtops4education.com and click on the “Box Top” link at the top of the page. Enter the school’s zip code (30290) and select Tyrone Elementary from the dropdown menu. Follow the directions for registering and return to the BTFE home page, click on the contest link, find the school’s photo, and vote. Persons can vote once daily through December 13. The winner will be notified on December 17.

The Box Tops for Education program gives schools 10 cents for every Box Tops logo they send back. So far this year, Tyrone Elementary has earned $1,520 by participating in the program.

Of course, the school would like to add $10,000 to its overall total, so don’t forget to vote daily and help Tyrone Elementary become the national winner in the Progresso Soup Box Tops for Education Contest.

Editor's Note:  Come on Georgia!  Let's all help Tyrone Elementary in Fayette County win this competition!

Photo Source:  Fayette County Board of Education


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SCAD Challenge Awards Scholarships to High School Students

/PRNewswire/ -- The Savannah College of Art and Design, the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, is seeking the next generation of talented artists and designers with its scholarship competition. The SCAD Challenge offers high school seniors and juniors an international stage to exhibit their work as well as the opportunity to be eligible for scholarships to attend the university. The competition focuses on creating projects in film, 2-D, 3-D, toy design, room design, poster design, fashion and writing.

The first competition challenged high school students to create a short film to be featured at the 2010 Savannah Film Festival. The film festival, an annual signature event hosted by SCAD, features the best in independent and innovative filmmaking from around the world. Honored guests have included Hugh Dancy, Michael Douglas, Woody Harrelson, James Ivory, Tommy Lee Jones, Sir Ian McKellen, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Renner, Isabella Rossellini and Emmy Rossum.

The SCAD Film Challenge received entries from more than 15 states and six countries. The top three senior winners were awarded artistic scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 per year while enrolled at SCAD. Students also received passes to attend the 2010 Savannah Film Festival, which presented a full range of cinematic creativity from both award-winning professionals and emerging student filmmakers. This year's senior winners were John Kim from Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Gabe Gilden from Barrington, Illinois; and Seth Boyden from Huntertown, Indiana.

The three junior winners selected by the panel of judges will experience the university this summer with full scholarships to attend SCAD Summer Seminars, workshops designed for high school students to explore a variety of creative disciplines across the SCAD curriculum. The SCAD Film Challenge junior winners were Wes Sherwin from Cartersville, Georgia; Aaron Carter from Hawthorn Woods, Illinois; and Amanda Depperschmidt from Lawrenceville, Georgia.

"The SCAD Film Challenge proved to be an overall success," said Katrine Trantham, senior director of enrollment events and programs. "All the faculty involved were extremely impressed with the level of talent exhibited and look forward to seeing the senior winners at SCAD next year."

SCAD offers the most comprehensive degree programs in film and digital media in the United States. The university offers the only major film program in the United States integrated with an acclaimed art and design institution. Students work with current, industry-standard hardware and software, learn from faculty who are practitioners as well as mentors, and have opportunities for collaboration. SCAD film and television students and alumni produce work that receives prestigious recognition. Some of their work has been showcased at Sundance, Cannes, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, South by Southwest, the Palm Springs Film Festival, and many others.

To learn more about the upcoming challenges, visit www.scad.edu/scadchallenge. The SCAD Film Challenge entries can be viewed at http://filmfest.scad.edu/category/scad-challenge/.

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